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Top 10 Moving Tips
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EXPECTED READ TIME: 16 MINUTES
January 21, 2022
Whether you’re relocating across the country or just a few miles away, moving tips come in handy. From how to pack to who to hire – we’ve listed our top 10 tips. Read on and discover how to make your trek easier.
1. Pare Down & Move Less
Moving tips and tricks #1 - Moving across the country tips are different from moving around the corner. But in both instances, you can use the move to get rid of things you don’t need. If you haven’t used it in a year – chances are you won’t. We say a year because there are seasonal items that you only use annually. But do you really need to keep and take up storage space with clothes from the 90s, hardline phones, old computer peripherals of a long-gone PC, dozens of empty coffee cans, and burnt-out Christmas lights?
And even if you’re not going to move for six months, you can still start now with sorting, selling, and donating. For those making a move out of state or across the country, getting rid of stuff is even more important. At the beginning of 2021, gas prices started to climb, which made moving even more expensive. Consider that it might be less costly to eliminate larger items that you’re not attached to and replace them in your new location.
2. Get Supplies & Make it Easy on Yourself
Packing tips for moving #2 - If you’re not going to use a full-service moving company, you’ll need to get moving supplies. You’ve probably heard the saying – “The right tool for the job.” The same goes for moving supplies. Here are a few basics you’ll need.
- Boxes – if you’re moving a short distance, grocery store boxes are fine. But for cross-country, it’s better to purchase actual moving boxes. Price the boxes locally and online for the best deals. For dishes and heavier items – smaller boxes can be better, so they don’t get too heavy.
- Paper for wrapping glassware – you may need quite a bit. It’s better to pack with more paper than less so items don’t get damaged.
- Tape - you’ll need lots and lots of tape. Get a few tape guns to make taping faster.
- Mattress covers – for long moves, it’s worth purchasing thick plastic mattress bags. You can find them online. This will keep the mattresses clean and dry – even if you have to store them for a while.
- Furniture covers - you can purchase thick plastic furniture covers for upholstered furniture like couches, love seats, and ottomans.
- Moving sliders - are another handy item, especially when you arrive at the other end of your journey.
- Moving pads – you’ll need a stack of these to protect your dressers, TVs, headboards, etc.
- Duct tape – it comes in handy!
3. Pack Right for the Distance
If you have a short trip across town, you don’t have to worry so much about breakage. It’s easy to take delicate items in your car. But long-distance is another story. Here are our packing and moving tips for major moves.
- Don’t skimp on the boxes – especially for breakables. And make sure to tape the boxes well on all sides.
- For dishes, wrap each one in paper, and make sure the box isn’t loaded too heavy. It’s better to purchase clean paper than using newspapers because the old ink rubs off on your hands and everything else.
- Remove lampshades and put them in a box to protect them.
- If you pack valuables like jewelry or silver – watch them like a hawk. Pack them in the truck first, so they’ll be packed in and not easily accessible. And don’t label them jewelry or something obvious. Instead, make a label that would let you know what’s there—for example – “bedroom closet”.
- Use bedding as extra cushioning around breakables—label boxes with “FRAGILE” on anything breakable.
- Pack like items together for each room. For example, kitchen utensils and knives together. If you have tons of books, consider not moving them all since they can be extra heavy. Only take your favorites. For the books you do take – pack them in smaller boxes so they are easy to lift.
- If you’ve already purchased your new house, get the floorplan dimensions so you’re not moving furniture that won’t fit. There are free online programs that you can create a floorplan and place the furniture.
4. Label Thoroughly & Find it Easier
Here are some more moving tips and tricks. Create a labeling system for your boxes. You’ll need the room name the box goes in, contents, and if it’s breakable. For example:
- Kitchen, dishes, fragile
- Bathroom, toiletries
- Office – computer stuff, fragile
Label everything – don’t think you’ll remember. When boxes are labeled with the room, it’s easy for any moving help you get to know where everything goes.
And if you’re putting your home on the market before the move, you might consider packing away the items you won’t be using and put them in storage. That way, your home will be less cluttered and look more spacious.
Mark your essential boxes, so you know to keep them handy and place them in the right room. For example,
- Essentials – Bathroom, toiletries
- Essentials – Kitchen, coffee pot, filtered water jug.
5. Hire Smart – You Won’t Regret it
If there’s any project you shouldn’t cut costs on ¬– it’s moving. It’s not worth it. That includes vendors for vehicle and personal property moving. Start researching to select who you want to use. Here’s a few to check out for starters:
- Vehicle moving companies - MrCarShipper
- Full-service moving companies - Mayflower, Atlas Van Lines, or United Van Lines
- DIY companies - U-Pack, Pods, or U-Haul
- Loading and unloading help - MovingHelp via U-Haul
For both vehicle and personal property movers, try and deal directly with the company that will be moving your stuff. Not a broker. Here’s why. With a broker, you won’t know who will be doing the moving. You might pay the broker, but then they hire someone else to do the moving. And then if that company can’t do it – it goes to another company.
Not only can it be confusing if anything goes wrong, but it’s also challenging to figure out who’s at fault if something goes wrong. It’s also vital that you read reviews on sites like Google and Yelp – not on the vendor's own site. Before you hire anyone, make sure they don’t have a bunch of complaints on BBB.
6. Pack the Truck Strategically
Whatever boxes and items you’re going to need first – pack last. And whatever you do – don’t pack important documents that you may need. It’s better to take those in your car. That’s especially true if you’re buying a new house and your loan hasn’t closed. You don’t want to be digging through boxes on a truck at the last minute looking for your taxes.
If you’re renting a truck to drive yourself, you can often hire movers and packers. Good ones know what they’re doing. They can help you pack the truck to utilize the space to the max and save the strain on your back.
7. Plan Your Route – Think Ahead
The best tips for moving out of state have to do with the route you select. If you’re pulling a big truck, it’s better to go on main highways and truck routes. For example, you can take Interstate 10 from Southern California all the way across the country to Florida. Although this isn’t the most scenic route, the road is generally good and pretty flat.
Take the time to stop by your local AAA office if you’re a member. Ask them the best route to take. They’re a wealth of knowledge that’s especially useful if you’re driving the truck yourself or towing a trailer.
Besides planning the route, if you’re driving a big truck or towing a trailer, plan where you’re going to stop for the night. Call ahead and make sure they have enough room in their parking lot for your larger vehicles.
8. Pack Your Car Right
Take only what you need – don’t overpack, but don’t forget the basics. If you’re traveling with kids and pets, you’ll need to plan accordingly. For small dogs, there are booster seats so they can look out the window. And don’t forget the sunshades for the windshield and the side windows. In the summertime, the heat can be intense.
Make sure to have snacks, drinks, extra phone chargers, and favorite pillows. Pack a bag that’s easy to carry with one change of clothes for everyone. You don’t want to have to lug heavy suitcases. For pets, consider bringing a travel bed that they’ll know is theirs. It will help them feel less stressed out when staying in an unfamiliar hotel.
9. Have Help on the Other End
When you arrive at your destination, you’re going to need help. If you’re buying a home or have already bought one – ask your realtor for assistance. They’ll have lots of contacts. And make sure your utilities are turned on in plenty of time.
Try and plan your arrival before noon if you’re driving a big truck. That way, you won’t be too tired or have to fight rush-hour traffic.
10. Direct the Placement & Run the Show
Have one person directing everyone unloading to make sure they put the boxes and furniture in the right room. Try to have them place the furniture exactly where you’ll want it.
Bring a few extension cords that you can plug in behind the beds. That way, it’s easy to plug in your clock and lamps. If you’re hiring help, have cold drinks, snacks, and cash for moving day tips.
Good luck with your move. We hope these top 10 moving tips have been helpful!